“Crowdsourcing” is one of my least favourite techno-neologisms; and there’s some pretty stiff competition out there (see also “netiquette” and “wikiality“). Nevertheless, it’s hard not to reach for words like these when you’re looking to summarize some of the most wonderful workings of the internet.
By this, of course, I mean not the world-changing possibility that people from all across the globe can collectively solve problems and achieve solutions that isolated individuals or even corporations would never manage in a lifetime. No. I mean the simple fact that, no matter how much you’ve thought about any particular image or idea or line, there’s always someone out there thinking something so entirely different about it that you couldn’t even begin to think of what they’re thinking about, even if you were given two lifetimes and an endless supply of coffee. As you’ll see from the title of this blog post, I’ve gone to the trouble of making up a new(ish) word to describe this phenomenon more precisely.
What provoked this particular techneologism? As some readers will know, we at Prospect recently re-designed both our print magazine and this blog (our main website transformation is yet to come: watch, or rather, don’t yet watch, this space). As part of this, we spent not a little time looking into possible covers, headlines, images and fonts. We tried to imagine from as many angles as possible what our readers would make of these, and especially of our new front cover. We covered quite a few bases. We weren’t, however, even playing in the same ballpark as one of the commentators on this fine blog, who observes of the re-design issue’s cover (above, left):
Cover looks like it’s about how to get engaged – with the ring between the c and the t and the girl holding out her finger!
Before helpfully adding, just in case you got confused,
It’s not btw …
I can see it now, I guess. After about an hour of stroking my chin.
This, my friends, is the truest glory of the interwebs.